Editor’s Note (PS)
by Temba Magorimbo
As I came to notice, the girl was sipping the same glass. I remembered that I was in America, the land of the free. Thanks a lot to the cultural exchange program. I was here belting out my jazz music with the boys. Normally back home we didn’t command such a following for several reasons. Chief among them was demographics. Our nation’s populace would fit smugly leaving ample space into New York city alone. Secondly not every one understood what jazz stood for. How many people back home wanted to listen to music dominated by horns, string guitar and very few words like ‘Release Mandela, I want to see him walking down the streets of South Africa with Winnie Mandela!’? Hey, I am not even the band leader, I just play horns, trumpet, trombone whatever instrument uses wind and I play it with my mouth. A mouth organ too, that is correct. A kiss too, oh sorry about that.
I stooped from my bar stool and flicked a match. I smoked.
“Smoking is for the men’s room chum,” the bar man reminded.
“Oops sorry,” I replied. I switched off the cigarette throwing into a bin. I left my stool and approached her.
She was tall, slightly stout with flesh and curves that made a fully grown woman. She had bazookas for breasts but the face was soft, tender and very attractive. “Hi I am Almond. I play wind instruments.”
“Is it?” she asked.
“I saw you drinking alone,” I started. “I don’t think a lady should be drinking alone. That is against the laws of nature.”
“I normally do with my friend,” she replied.
“Man friend?” I asked.
“Girl_friend,” she over emphasized.
“You mean as in___?”
“AS in a man and a wife, a girl and a girl, you are queer sort of,” she replied.
“I am Almond. I am a visiting jazz wind instrument player. Here is my card. I offer you to come and watch us playing Jazz at this great club tomorrow evening,” I had replied. “I can do wonders with my mouth.”
“I hate jazz,” she was straight to the point. “I hate kissing too.”
“Then just come and see me play with my trombone, trumpet or mouth organ,” I replied. “I promise you a six-pack of beer afterwards. What are you drinking?”
“I am not a hooker,” she said standing up. Her skirt was as good as that of a six year old for her age. It was short. It should have cost half the price of that for an adult. The tee shirt left the stomach fat out. As she walked, her hips swung like a pendulum in option. She stopped on the way somewhere. She rummaged through her bag. She picked up a cell phone. “Hi Toni. I am already there and waiting for you___ what ___ the contract? ____ congratulations ____ what ___tied up ____Oh I see_____”
She was gone. I thought I had lost her. I went to the men’s room. I lit a cigarette puffing away looking at the paintings on the wall not covered by graffiti. I came back about ten minutes later swallowing a smoker’s bubble gum. I sat down and ordered a straight beer.
“What are you drinking?” she asked. I had not noticed that her eyes were azure.
“Just beer,” I said.
“The jazz still on?”
"Tomorrow of course,” I replied.
“Buy me a cognac on ice.”
“Full tumbler, cognac on ice for the lady,” we were into conversation. At the end of the evening I asked to take her home. She laughed at me as she led me out. She had a vehicle, an Acura while I became a passenger. I think I was in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles for the next twenty-one days before flying back home and we met almost every day. I would take a train to her flat if I was far away, a bus if I was a little far away and I drove when I was near. Man!
Now here I am still playing beautiful jazz music back home now. I sit in a queue. There are only four of us. There is a guy in yellow corduroy trousers, a woman in jean trousers, a girl in blue dress and me. Do I need to describe them? The woman is sort of shriveled and darker in complexion. The hair on her head is thinning out and the dress looks too big for her size. Then there is the man, he is stocky and beefy chested like a rugby player. He is not connected to the lady. Believe you me, I have made some good money playing the best of jazz outside the country but I do not afford or need a bodyguard. Neither do I need a bursar. A bursar, oh I do not run a school!
“Me,” the guy in corduroy stands up and follows the woman with a clip board. There are three of us now. My fingers are playing on the armchair. I realize that I am following the notes of a trombone in ‘Call Me Al’. There is a lady with a clipboard, tall, slightly stout African with medium thrusting breasts and she smiles. She is beautiful too but you wouldn’t pick a lady in this New Start Centre AIDS/HIV counseling joint. I love her. Let me take her number.
“John ____,” she says.
“Me,” I rise and follow her. We are in a small consulting room. She shuts the door.
“How are you sir?” she starts.
“Call me John,” I reply. “Can I call you Beatrice? You are almost my daughter’s age.”
“You cannot tell a person’s age by just looking at them," she replied.
“My daughter is twenty-four,” I replied.
“I am thirty-four,” she replies. “You can call me Beatrice however.”
“Thanks Beatrice,” I replied.
“Shall we begin,” she says.
“Straight to the point lady. I am a musician. I may get the foreign currency to buy the necessary drugs if you tell me the truth,” I said.
“Are you married?” she asked.
“Yes, I will bring my wife if I have venereal disease,” I say.
“All right. You have HIV but you do not yet have fully blown AIDS so you can live those twenty odd years you see advertised in television adverts. I will want you on anti-retroviral because you can gain access to foreign currency,” she says.
“Thanks now the counseling can start,” I say.
Editor’s Note: The XXXX newspaper refutes the story published in GGGx3 newspaper alleging that a prominent musician has AIDS. Please note the personal life of a musician and his family should be considered before running such headline news unless the person(s) in question make it public. ………... Thank you.